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Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Truth about Women and Gun Control

POLITICS - Gun control is actually a gender issue. Why? Because when you compare the percentage of men who support gun control and the percentage of women who support gun control you see some startling differences.

Support Gun Control
U.S. Men: 51%
U.S. Women: 64%

Against Gun Control
U.S. Men: 46%
U.S. Women: 30%

Undecided
U.S. Men: 3%
U.S. Women: 6%

(Source: Pew Research Center / 2008)

Education is also another big factor in who supports gun control (people with a college or university education are over 25% more likely to support gun control), as is race. 75% of African-Americans support gun control, but only 54% of Caucasian-Americans support gun control.

In Canada and the U.K. we have stricter gun control and it shows in our much lower crime rates.

For the purpose of this blog post however we're going to look at the example of Mavis Moore who was 4-years-old when she first had a gun pointed at her. She and her mother were picking up a newspaper in their small Saskatchewan town of Crown Butte when a neighbour decided to point his .22 at them and threatened to kill them both.

Mavis Moore was so frightened she remembers dropping her blue mitten in the snow.

“You can't imagine what it's like, this adult man having a gun on you and threatening to kill you and your mother,” says Mavis who is now 72-years-old. Her mother picked up her daugher and the mitten and left immediately.

She also recalls how decades later, while out hunting (Mavis is now an avid hunter) how a fellow hunter suddenly aimed his cocked rifle at her in the northern Saskatchewan bush. He claims he had mistook her 5-foot-4 frame, draped in red, for a moose.

Guns are a constant threat in the lives of rural Canadian women. Many rural Canadian families have guns in their homes (from my perspective, my family had 2 that I knew of).

Mavis Moore, who grew up in Crown Butte, Saskatchewan, says she is incensed at Prime Minister Stephen Harper's attempts to scrap the Long Gun Registry in Canada. Mavis is an avid hunter even at the age of 72, but she strongly supports the Long Gun Registry.

“That makes me so mad,” says Mavis, who still owns three licensed and registered long guns. “It's not a matter of rural versus urban. It's a public safety issue. How many women and children in rural Canada are threatened in their own homes with a gun? More than we want to know, I think.”

According to a Harris/Decima research poll released on Sept. 8th the difference between urban and rural men who support gun controlis very little.

48% of Canadian men say its a bad idea to abolish the Long Gun Registry.
42% of Canadian men support abolishing it.
10% of Canadian men are not sure.

There is only a 2% difference between whether the people polled who live in the city or the countryside in terms of support. [It should be noted only 18% of Canadians live in rural society.] So gun control support has very little to do with where you live.

49% of Canadian men who live in cities support the Long Gun Registry.
47% of Canadian men who live in rural society support the Long Gun Registry.
41% of Canadian men who live in cities support abolishment.
43% of Canadian men who live in rural society support abolishment.

In contrast
49% of Canadian women who live in cities support the Long Gun Registry.
47% of Canadian women who live in rural society support the Long Gun Registry.
30% of Canadian women who live in cities support abolishment.
40% of Canadian women who live in rural society support abolishment.

Overall 48% of Canadians support keeping the Long Gun Registry, while 38% support its abolition.

(Harris/Decima interviewed just over 1000 Canadians. A sample of this size has a margin of error of 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.)

Meanwhile 81% of Canadian police officers support the Long Gun Registry and say they use it help protect the public. Officers consult the registry before responding to domestic violence 911 calls to see if there are guns on site, and also for murder and criminal investigations.

Over 1,500 Canadians were refused gun licenses between 2006 and 2009 because background checks determined they were a criminal risk.

6,093 gun licenses were also revoked during the same period due to continuous screening, court orders and public safety complaints.

Police and criminal psychologists all agree these revoked gun licenses and refusals to grant gun licenses have saved lives, but unfortunately it's hard to document prevention. We have no way of knowing how many lives the Long Gun Registry and similar gun control measures have saved.

What is documented is that 69% of homicides, suicides and accidental deaths in Canada involved long guns in 2004, a drop from 72% of firearm deaths in 2001. More drops are expected in the future as more statistical data becomes available.

And what is also known is that rural and farm women are more likely to encounter domestic violence involving long guns.

“Rural and farm women who experience violence in the home describe a cycle of intimidation with guns . . . which makes it really difficult for women even to report what's going on, “ says Jo-Ann Brooke, director of the Women's Sexual Assault Centre of Renfrew County in Pembroke, Ontario.

Domestic abuse victims say they support the Long Gun Registry because it takes the responsibility for reporting the presence of guns out of their hands, and alerts police to the guns if they are called to a domestic violence incident.

The $4-million annual price tag for running the Canadian Long Gun Registry is worth it.

See Also
Gun Control in Canada
Handguns in Canada
RCMP Report vindicates Long Gun Registry
Canada needs to keep Long Gun Registry
Stephen Harper's Gun Raffle
Jordan Manners and the C.W. Jefferys Massacre
Killer Goth on the Rampage in Montreal
German gunman kills 11 women, 4 men

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